My Bag

I have a bag.  My bag.  It is, officially, a monogrammed - because my wife is nice like that - Land's End Square Rigger Attache.  Functional with just the right type of interior pockets.  Comfortable with soft handles, a wide shoulder strap, a big zipper & oversized zipper pulls.  Durable with heavy cotton canvas construction.  Faded with years of service.  Raggedy with... There.  I said it.

My bag doesn't just look worn out anymore.  It is worn out.  In my hand are some thick cotton threads.  And, as you can see, the threads aren't part of the handle anymore.  These poor threads are now unattached.  They came off.  My bag is starting to fall apart.  My bag is beginning to wear out.  My bag is becoming raggedy.

Forlorn from thread removal, I conducted an inspection of the entire bag.  Sadly, I must report that handle issues are not alone.  The big zipper is failing on the lower left corner.  There are holes wearing through the canvas at multiple spots on all four - or is that eight - corners.  And, as you can see, it just looks worn out too.

This is beginning of the end for my trusty old black - now brownish - bag.  Some day, maybe sooner than I'd like, it will be retired.  Maybe even trashed.  The zipper will completely fail.  One of the many small holes will catch & tear.  And you know the story: the repair will cost more than a new bag & there you have it.

Does my bag have you thinking about yourself?  Someone you know?  Something you own?  Some activity you do?  Asking the same questions & thinking the same thoughts that accompany about the beginning of the end?  And what about your acceptance of what you see in front of you?  Faded, worn, thread-bare?

When is it time to hold on?  When is it time to move on?

God, give us discernment to know.  Give us courage to act.

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6

The Wind

I snapped this pic after my run today.  A joy to be out.  A joy to be done.  My day off, I'd waited til after the kids left for school this morning.  With the sun up over the horizon warming the 8 degree skies, wind at 10+ mph, & a real feel of -3, I layered up appropriately.  Out I went to run the snow plowed, yet patchy streets of our subdivision with the assurance I had the right gear for the conditions.

For the first few minutes in the sub freezing outdoors you wanna think, "Agh, I overdressed.  I'm gonna get too hot before I'm done."  Then you remember two things: first, you got dressed where it was 60 degrees warmer; second, you always feel this way until the cold presses in through your layers.  Wait a few minutes before turning home to shed some gear.

Sure enough a mile or so down the road the warmth you felt yields to the weight of the cold.  Your flesh is screaming the reality, "It's really cold out here, Yehu!"  Experience speaks to your flesh again before you are tempted to turn home, "Give it a bit more & you'll warm up."

And, if you've dressed right, you do warm up.  You feel great.  Cold face, yes.  Chilled a bit here & there, at times.  Yet generally, just right.  Run you do, picking your steps through the snow & ice.

Then, just when things seem to be going so well, you face another force.  One more fierce than the cold.  "You conquered 8 degrees? Ha! Wait until you meet me," it growls.

You turn into the wind.

The wind.  Bites.  Cuts.  Hurts.

All the warmth from being layered right.  All the self-congrats for choosing well & running strong.  All are laughed at by the wind.

You push through.  You steel your will.  You suffer on.

No matter how you feel you have gotta get your miles.  And if it's too tough to get all your miles, you at least have to get home.  These conditions will hurt you.

Isn't life like that?

You bring your best plans.  Your best stuff.  Your best prep.  You are up to the challenge.  You are ready to conquer.

Then you turn into the wind.

The fierce, frozen, cutting, angry wind.

You question yourself.  You question God.  You second guess.  You doubt.  You cry.  You complain.  You stumble.

But you gotta keep going.  You can't stay out there in the cold.  You gotta reach the peace & warmth of home. You press on.


The wind.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37


Forty observations on life celebrating my fortieth birthday. Some serious. Some not so much. You decide.

  1. Never cease to by amazed by God’s grace. Thank Him.
  2. Help. I need somebody. We all need help at times. Be willing.
  3. Friends are essential equipment for life well live. Be one.
  4. Mayonnaise tastes good. Especially on french fries. Try.
  5. Sleep is a gift. Don’t hate if you don’t have it.
  6. Crying is good. Joyful. Painful. Griefful. Let it out.
  7. Dr. Pepper really does make life taste better. 10-2-4.
  8. Laugh. Loud & often. Thank me later.
  9. Hair needs trimming. Nose & ear hairs with age. Agh!
  10. Be courageous. Your gut is right. Mostly.
  11. Chill. Too serious is too bad. Loosen up a little.
  12. Trust God. And others. Mystery makes you stronger.
  13. A day without peanut butter is not a day. Mmmm.
  14. Inspiration is essential. Search it out. Dream.
  15. Seasons change. Enjoy the difference.
  16. Eat more fruit & veggies. Ask my wife.
  17. Run. For your life.
  18. God gives grace to the humble. Be broken.
  19. Show your faith. Sacrifice.
  20. Growth is change for the better. Don’t die.
  21. Chocolate. Just as long as you have some in the house.
  22. Memories are priceless. Hold on.
  23. Patience. Its a virtue hard earned. Worth the wait.
  24. Be a kid. I act like I’m 6 (or 66). Ask my wife that one too.
  25. Give your heart. God says you’ll find Him.
  26. A lion’s roar. In the wild. Will surprise you.
  27. Forgiveness is the best gift. To give yourself too.
  28. Pain reminds us we’re human. Don’t curse. Thank God.
  29. Follow Jesus. The best decision you’ll ever make.
  30. We need a big God. Don’t limit him by your thinking. Or faith.
  31. Have passion. Live for something.
  32. Stretch your brain. Learn.
  33. Two words: Ice cream. Two more: Blue Bell.
  34. Comfort is a virtue. No matter what others say.
  35. Give. It’s best.
  36. Love with everything you’ve got. You can do it.
  37. Order is nice, but life is unpredictable. Be flexible.
  38. Treasure family. God gave you one another.
  39. Listen. You’ll learn things you never knew.
  40. Don’t tell your wife not to interrupt when writing your forty things. Trust me.


Who I Am


The reFocusing proccess at my church asked us to discover who God has created us to be. As a reminder to myself, here I am.

My Biblical Purpose

I exist to be loved by God through the risen Savior & the powerful Spirit.

My Values

1. Kingdom: Living faithfully by the principles of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

2. Discipleship: Becoming evermore Christ-like & influencing others to be the same.

3. Missionary: Extending the Kingdom in an Acts 1:8 movement.

4. Courage: Surrendering in faith to take risks for the Kingdom.

5. Family: Loving my family whole-heartedly without compromise.

My Vision

My vision is to love my family in words and actions, prayers and presence as God loves me so that Melanie will be vibrant and my children will be confident.

My vision is to love the Church as a discerning pastor and a passionate preacher as Christ loves me so that we might see with an eternal perspective, walk in transformational discipleship, and live with a missional impact.

I desire the Kingdom of Heaven to be enlarged because I gave my life away.

Gear & Guts

Last night: 43 degrees; dark; windy; rainy. Have a treadmill in my basement.

I'm no hamster. Love the outdoors.

Tell me the weather. I'll tell you the gear. Head to foot. Technical fiber. Moisture wicking. 360 reflective. Temperature-tuned. Flat-seemed. Blister-free. Wind-stopper. Water-resistant.

But. Any day. Any weather. Any extreme. Do I have the guts? Guts to get up, get out, go run.

I'm no chicken. Love to test myself.

Gear & guts is all you need for all-weather running.

Life's like that.

Tell me the situation. I'll tell you a direction. Been schooled. Done conferences. Read books. Studied articles. Had mentors. Know strategies. Got techniques.

But. Any day. Any challenge. Any extreme. Do I have the courage? Courage to stand up, speak truth, & live.

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong & courageous.
Do not be terrified;
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9.